26 Jul Shop With Us: Gentry Boutique
By Tracy Jacks
If you think you have to live in a major city to be a fashionista, you’ve clearly never met Courtney Loftin. Courtney Loftin is the founder of The Gentry Boutique, downtown Rock Island’s home for fashion forward and contemporary clothing, accessories, home goods, and gifts. For Loftin, owning her own shop was the next rung on her way up the fashion ladder.
“I’ve been working in the fashion industry since 2009,” she explains, “and have been finding my niche ever since. I’d worked in PR, sales, and corporate retail before deciding to open Gentry Boutique. I’ve always felt the need to work in a way that was personally fulfilling and had meaning for others. I’ve found that with Gentry.” The name harkens back to Loftin’s college days. “Wikipedia defines ‘gentry’ as ‘well-born, genteel, and well-bred people,’ she explains.
“I attempted to start a clothing line in college and we called it ‘Modern Gentry.’ With the name, I was trying to convey that you can be well-born and well-bred without having to come from wealth or upper class aristocracy.” When it came time for Loftin to open the store, she flashed back to that ideology and the Gentry Boutique was born. Risk taker makes it a point to fit her customers’ styles in this fashion-forward boutique.
“I’ve always been a risk taker,” says Loftin. “I finally ran out of reasons not to open my own store, so I went for it!” So far, it’s been a successful risk, as The Gentry Boutique has quickly gained a reputation for stylish fashion at affordable prices. The store’s inventory is hand-selected by Loftin, who chooses pieces and clothing lines based on her personal aesthetic and desire to serve her rapidly-expanding customer base.
“My buying process combines my personal style with the needs of my customers,” she adds. “When I find a brand or style that works, I also think of how I can evolve from that and what will be the next style customers will love. I incorporate mainstream trends, but what’s most important for me is that my customers come in and find something that they feel confident in as well as being stylish.”
The Quad Cities has never really been known as a fashion mecca, but Loftin says the enthusiasm is out there. “There are a lot of gifted and creative artists in Rock Island and around the Quad Cities,” Loftin says. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people come up to me interested in fashion, styling, and photography and how many creative outlets exist and are popping up around the Quad Cities.”
Visit Gentry Boutique at 218 18th Street in downtown Rock Island, or shop gentryboutique.com Contact Gentry Boutique at 309-283-7512.
FEATURED IN DOWNTOWN ROCK ISLAND MAGAZINE >> SUMMER 2017